Only on an alternate-universe talent show as utterly bonkers as The Masked Singer — a singing competition on which Gladys Knight placed third last season, behind runner-up Donny Osmond and winner T-Pain — could another legendary soul diva not even make it to the Season 2 finale. But that’s exactly what happened this Wednesday, when the one and only Patti “The Flower” LaBelle went home in eighth place.
Yes, you read that correctly. That was not a typo. And this is not The Onion. Eighth. Place.
It had to be the most shocking elimination in Masked Singer history, although Patti seemed to take the news in stride, knowing that this defeat is unlikely to sully a legacy that includes lifetime-achievement accolades from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and the Grammy, BET, Soul Train, and Essence Awards. “It feels awesome. It feels like I did win,” she said with a smile.
And judges Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger were totally fanboy/girling over Patti. “It’s such an honor to have you on this show; I think we are all very blessed,” gushed Robin. “No one will ever have another voice like you,” declared Nicole, who’d guessed the Flower’s identity correctly due to those unmistakable, undeniable vocals. Host Nick Cannon wasn’t surprised either, since Patti is actually the godmother of his twins. “I knew by the walk. I knew the whole time,” he confessed.
So…. how on earth did this happen? Well, with most of the non-professional-singer contestants like Johnny Weir, Laila Ali, Kathy Griffin, and gamer Ninja weeded out by this halfway point of the season, the show is getting down to the nitty-gritty. And the four cosplaying mystery celebrities that competed this week are among Season 2’s best in show. So, what ensued Wednesday were two face-offs (almost literally, since one contestant was obviously de-masked by the episode’s end) that seemed like something straight of a SyFy movie of the week: Flamingo vs. Leopard and Flower vs. Rottweiler.
First, the Flamingo sang against the Leopard, and while the Leopard delivered a pretty solid vocal and brought his usual dotty pomp-and-circumstance to the hilarious proceedings, he was no match for the feathered frontrunner. Then, the Flower (Patti) faced off with arguably the finest vocalist of Season 2, the Rottweiler — and while her wailing cover of Heart’s “Alone” was a multi-octave tour de force, the judges still made the tough decision to send her to a “Smackdown” instant-elimination round against the Leopard.
And that’s when things got interesting.
I would have assumed that the Leopard was doomed and about to be banished from the Masked Singer jungle forever. But then the Leopard made a genius power-play… and covered “Don’t Cha” by Nicole’s former girl group, the Pussycat Dolls. And this pussycat was really feeling his PCD fantasy, loosening up his buttons and vamping and camping it up to the max. His claws came out, he purred those sex-kitten lyrics, and the audience roared approvingly.
“He sang it better than me,” said Nicole — and she wasn’t wrong. “This is exactly why The Masked Singer is a hit show, for moments like this,” said judge Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg. And she too was not wrong. Don’t cha wish that all shows were freaky like this?
Interestingly, even though the Flower chose to sing Survivor’s Rocky III anthem “Eye of the Tiger,” she seemed to have less fight in her. She certainly didn’t have as much bite as the fierce Leopard. Maybe she was simply ready to go, and she threw the match. But whatever the reason, the Flower wilted a bit — and a result, Patti Frickin’ LaBelle went home, presumably with a new attitude.